U.S. to send two dozen F-22s to Western Pacific this month for major exercise

U.S. to send two dozen F-22s to Western Pacific this month for major exercise
F-22A Raptor (USAF image)

[Ed. – That’s a couple of squadrons.  It’s a lot of F-22s to concentrate in one area that far forward.  Guam and Tinian.  If China starts making with the asymmetric degradation/soft-attrition moves, we aren’t likely to hear about it in real time.]

Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii this week said approximately 25 F-22s Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard and from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, will deploy this month to Guam and Tinian islands for Operation Pacific Iron 2021. …

Deploying a large number of F-22s for the exercise sends an immediate message to China at a time when relations are tense over Pacific flashpoints like Taiwan and the South China Sea, said Carl Schuster, a Hawaii-based defense analyst and a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center. Normal F-22 deployments consist of six to 12 aircraft, he said.

“The Pacific Air Force is demonstrating that it can deploy as many or more fifth-generation aircraft into the theater on short notice than (China) currently has in its entire inventory,” he said.

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The Chinese air force has about 20 to 24 operational fifth-generation fighters, Schuster said, but he noted Beijing’s capabilities are improving at a rapid pace.

[…]

For Operation Pacific Iron, 10 F-15 Strike Eagle fighters from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho and two C-130J Hercules transport planes from Yokota Air Base in Japan will join the F-22s to fill out the air fleet for what the Air Force calls an Agile Combat Employment operation, also referred to as a combat dispersal operation, according to a statement from Pacific Air Forces.

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